£40k funding for centenary of NI

£40k funding for centenary of NI

20 January 2021

NEWRY, Mourne and Down Council is to make £40,000 available to finance a funding programme to mark Northern Ireland’s centenary across the district.

The decision was taken at last week’s meeting of the local authority’s influential Strategy Policy and Resources Committee and secured across-the-board political support.

A proposal to mark the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Province was initially referred to the council’s Good Relations Forum, before it was discussed by the local authority committee last week.

Support from all the main parties to mark the anniversary has been welcomed by the DUP’s Billy Walker and the UUP’s Alan Lewis.

Cllr Walker says he is pleased that a proposal to establish a funding programme was supported by Sinn Fein, the SDLP and Alliance.

He says it is hoped that a formal call for funding bids to be submitted will happen in February and is encouraging anyone interested in accessing the funding pot to ready their applications.

“I am pleased that this motion secured cross-party support. This year is indeed a historic one for Northern Ireland as its marks the 100th anniversary of its formation,” he said.

“The past few years have seen many important anniversaries for all sections of the community, but the 100th anniversary of Northern Ireland is a landmark.”

Cllr Alan Lewis labelled the creation of a funding programme as a “very positive development” and acknowledged the support of all parties.

He said the issue had initially been discussed at the council’s Equality and Good Relations Forum with and a strong case put forward by his UUP colleague David Taylor and Cllr Walker for a financial assistance scheme to be created.

Cllr Lewis said the centenary of Northern Ireland meant a great deal to many people within the district.  

“There will be various groups who will seek to mark this significant occasion in some way and this funding programme will assist groups hosting events,” he continued.

“The centenary provides us with the opportunity to reflect on the past 100 years and all that our country and its people have achieved in various fields including industry, military, science and medicine and indeed sport, music and culture.”

In addition, Cllr Lewis said the centenary provides an opportunity to focus on the country’s next century and how everyone can work together to strive for a vibrant and positive future for everyone “ensuring that our country is one of the best places in the world to live and work.”

He said the UUP was committed to delivering a prosperous new century for everyone in the province.

Last week’s decision by the local authority committee has to be rubber-stamped by the full council when it meets on February 1.